So the groups for the Olympic Football tournament have been drawn and Team GB face Senegal, UAE and Uruguay so now all that is left is for Stuart Pearce to pick his squad. The rules for the men’s Olympic football tournament is that any player born on or after the 1st of January 1989 are eligible with three older players free to be picked. 18 players will be picked, 2 of which will have to be goalkeepers and there will be 4 stand-by or alternate players available as well.
It also seems that any player that is going to be picked for the upcoming European Championships won’t be picked for the Olympic team so the likes of Theo Walker, Kyle Walker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are possible players that won’t be at the Olympics, but if not picked for the Euro’s would surely be a shoe in for the GB Olympic squad.
There has been no real indication as to who is going to make Pearce’s squad apart from the knowledge that there is a shortlist of 80 players. That doesn’t really narrow it down, and when asked whether he is going to pick players because of their status over performances he has stated that he is going to pick a squad that he feel s can win the Gold Medal and not for politics, although I can imagine there would be some discontent if David Beckham was not included.
So here is my Team GB squad along with the 4 alternate players and how they would line-up.
As you can see I have gone for David James in goal which might surprise many, but looking at the goalkeeping situation I felt that his experience would be more valuable than what some of the younger goalkeepers would bring. Joe Hart is not going to be available, and depending on who else gets picked for the Euro’s it really doesn’t leave much to choose from. You could argue that there is Wayne Hennessey and Craig Gordon but they are till going to count as an over age player so why not go for, in my opinion, a better choice and a ‘keeper with much more to offer.
At left-back I have chosen Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs may get picked for the Euro’ but with Cole and Baines much more likely to go I am confident that Gibbs would get picked for the Olympic team and Ryan Bertrand has put in some good performances for Chelsea so he would be able to act as good cover. At right-back I have opted for Crystal Palace’s Nathaniel Clyne and Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson. If Kyle Walker doesn’t get picked then I would have him starting and probably leave Jenkinson out of the squad. Clyne could well be playing in the Premiership next season after having another very impressive season with Crystal Palace. Jenkinson has had an impressive start to his Arsenal career and after being flung in at the deep end he held his own, only to have injury set him back. If he hadn’t of been inured this season then I probably would have him over Clyne.
In the centre of defence I have gone for Blackburn’s Grant Hanley, Tottenham’s on loan defender Steven Caulker (Swansea) and Celtic’s Adam Matthews. I would have Hanley and Caulker in partnership having maybe more experience than what Matthews has, although in saying that Matthews has been called up to the Welsh national side whereas Caulker has not yet featured in the senior England team.
I have picked David Beckham as one of the over age players mainly because he deserves it. He has helped Lord Coe and everyone involved to bring the Olympics to London and in all honesty is still playing at a decent enough level that the Olympic Games shouldn’t be all that tough for him. He wouldn’t just be a great ambassador for the Great Britain team, but also I am sure he would be a great influence on the team both on and off the pitch. With Gareth Bale on the left wing there just wasn’t space for Ryan Giggs. With the squad so limited on numbers and with Bellamy, Beckham and James in my squad the only way I could have included him and to use him is to have Amos in goal, Bale at left-back and Giggs on the left and that just make no sense to me.
I have partnered Beckham with Arsenal’s Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey. He has been receiving a bit of stick recently from the Arsenal fans over his form, but let’s not forget that he is still coming back from a serious leg break, so maybe they should lay off him a little. Ramsey has already been modelling the Team GB kit and that must be a bit hint that if he is injury free that he is going to be picked. He fits the bill perfectly and I couldn’t see any other player playing instead of him, well actually if Wilshere was fit by then I would have him in the squad over Lansbury and depending on fitness start him instead of Ramsey, but as it stands I would have Ramsey and Beckham.
As mentioned earlier I have Bale on the left wing, and on the right wing I have put Scott Sinclair. He may be more used to playing on the left, but he can do just as good a job on the right and that leaves Oxlade-Chamberlain free to operate in the middle of the attacking three that is of course if he is not picked for the Euro’s.
Up front I have Craig Bellamy starting instead of Andy Carroll for obvious reasons. One obvious reason is that I am not going to choose a player that is an older player and not start him and the second obvious reason is that he would probably score more goals and give a lot more back to the team.
Picking Andy Carroll for the team and not Welbeck or Sturridge is because I believe those to players have a greater chance at going to the Euro’s than what Big Andy C has, simple as that really.
It is going to be exciting to see what squad is picked, what players will be omitted and why, but also I will be one person who is going to enjoy watching the Olympic Games and will be taking a great interest in the Football tournament this time round, more than ever before, and I don’t think I will be the only one. I hope they don’t just have a Team GB for this Olympics but keep it for all future ones. It is good experience for the younger players and brings a little more excitement to the tournament having a team to support.